MO Legislative Session Ends in Chaos-Can’t List All That Was Wrong

With the General Assembly adjourned for almost a week now, we the citizens have had time to reflect on how the Legislature has failed to invest in everyday Missourians. The consensus among analysts appears clear: brinkmanship, pandering, and scandals have resulted in a “House of Cards” themed soap opera where ruthless politicians conspire and ordinary people ultimately lose. This negative assessment comes directly after the Republican Party has assumed an unprecedented super-majority in both chambers. Rather than sticking to campaign platitudes of “limited government,” Republican leaders abandoned their principles as soon as they were no longer expedient. Pushing a Right-to-Work bill through the Senate, which even Republicans describe as government interference in employer-employee relations, certain Republican senators pulled out every hollow excuse handed to them by wealthy, out-of-state interests groups to distract attention from their hypocritical actions before silencing bipartisan opposition. In this “do only harm” session, the extremist wing in the Legislature also failed to expand Medicaid, and slashed the budget for roads while leaving schools woefully underfunded. Because of unrestrained money and charades, Missourians have seen the moral bankruptcy of the majority party. In January, we lost Tom Schweich, a decorated public servant, to suicide after fellow Republicans waged an intense mudslinging campaign against him. Republican Speaker of the House John Diehl stepped down just last week after an investigation revealed his improper relationship with a 19 year old intern.  All the while, the real corruption scandal between lobbyists, politicians and unlimited gifts continues undisturbed. The people’s interests will never be realized so long as legislators live in a bubble where interest groups stumble over each other to dole out free meals. Indeed, it certainly makes it easier to kick children off the social safety net on a full stomach. We the people must work to make sure this embarrassing last session in Jefferson City is not eclipsed next year. While elections to bring change to the Legislature are over a year away, we must act now to hold legislators accountable for their words and actions by advocating commonsense values shared by all Missourians.

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Missouri Constitutional Amendments on Ballot November 4, 2014

West County Democrats

Resolutions on November 4 ballot issues –

to be voted on in the WCD general meeting Oct. 13.

(See Appendix for the ballot language.)

WCD Resolution on Proposed Constitutional

Amendment 2 – Nov. 4 ballot

Whereas: Proposed Constitutional Amendment 2 would allow evidence of

prior criminal acts, whether charged or uncharged, to be admissible in

certain crimes, and

Whereas: The introduction of such prior acts is intended to support the

victim’s testimony or show that the person charged is more likely to

have committed the crime, and

Whereas: The introduction of such evidence is likely to have the effect of

biasing the jury, and

Whereas: It is well-documented that victim eye-witness testimony is

unreliable, and

Whereas: It is also well-documented that when a person is wrongfully

convicted of a crime of a sexual nature, the damage suffered by that

person is considerable, and

Whereas: Convicting an innocent person allows the actual perpetrator of

the crime to remain at large and free to commit additional crimes,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT

The membership of the West County Democrats

opposes the adoption of Amendment 2 and urges

all Missouri voters to vote against this

amendment.

WCD Resolution on Constitutional

Amendment 3 – Nov. 4 ballot

Whereas: Research supports the importance of teachers and school

leaders as the principal components of student success in the K-12

educational system, and

Whereas: Student scores on standardized tests depend entirely on

student retention and understanding of the content of the tests, and also

depends on students’ willingness to answer standardized test questions,

and

Whereas: It is in the interest of the citizens of Missouri and their schoolage

children to recruit, hire, and retain the best new teachers for

Missouri’s public schools, and

Whereas: Continuing contracts (a/k/a “tenure”) for teachers is a principal

means of recruiting and retaining teachers who are deemed effective

during their three- to five-year probationary employment period, and

Whereas: The proposed amendment requires school districts to evaluate

teachers primarily on the basis of “quantifiable student performance data”

rather than the professional judgment of other teachers and

administrators, and

Whereas: The right to make teacher evaluation systems negotiable is

denied in the collective bargaining process, and

Whereas: The right of due process is severely and unconstitutionally

curtailed in “retaining, promoting, demoting, dismissing, removing,

discharging and setting compensation for certified staff,”

Be it therefore resolved that:

The West County Democrat Club opposes the

amendments to Article IX and urges voters to vote

“No” on Ballot Measure No. 3 in the November 4

general elections.

WCD Resolution on Proposed Constitutional

Amendment 6 – Nov. 4 ballot

Whereas: Proposed Constitutional Amendment 6 allows early voting for a

time period substantially more limiting than that proposed by an initiative

petition campaign, and

Whereas: This proposed Amendment permits early voting only in years

when the General Assembly provides funding, and

Whereas: This proposed Amendment does not guarantee that early

voting will actually be implemented on a regular and consistent basis, but

is dependent on the General Assembly for funding, and

Whereas: It is within the purview of the General Assembly to adopt laws

regarding early voting without recourse to a constitutional amendment,

and

Whereas: It is therefore unnecessary and inappropriate to amend the

state constitution in this manner,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT

The membership of the West County Democrats

opposes the adoption of Amendment 6 and urges

all Missouri voters to vote against this amendment.

WCD Resolution on Constitutional

Amendment 10 – Nov. 4 ballot

Whereas: The Governor already has the responsibility for proposing and

implementing a budget for the State, and

Whereas: The Legislature already has the responsibility for adjusting and

approving the budget for the State, including its revenue projections, and

Whereas: The Governor must often adjust specific budget items in

reasonable and prudent response to changing financial and programmatic

conditions, and

Whereas: Constitutional amendments should be reserved for public

policies of general importance, and not be used for operational disputes

between branches of the government, and

Whereas: This amendment, if passed into law, unduly restricts the

Governor’s rightful and reasonable prerogatives and responsibilities,

Be it therefore resolved that:

The West County Democrat Club opposes the

movement of House Joint Resolution No. 72 into

the Missouri State Constitution, and urges voters

to vote “No” on Constitutional Amendment 10.

APPENDIX

The following ballot measures have been certified for

the November 4, 2014 general election. (Source:

http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2014ballot/)

Constitutional Amendment 2

[Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (First Regular Session)

HJR 16]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible to allow

relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for

crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under eighteen years of age?

If more resources are needed to defend increased prosecutions additional costs

to governmental entities could be at least $1.4 million annually, otherwise the

fiscal impact is expected to be limited.

Fair Ballot Language:

A

“yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to allow evidence of prior

criminal acts, whether charged or uncharged, to be considered by courts in

prosecutions of sexual crimes that involve a victim under eighteen years of

age. The amendment limits the use of such prior acts to support the victim’s

testimony or show that the person charged is more likely to commit the

crime. Further, the judge may exclude such prior acts if the value of considering

them is substantially outweighed by the possibility of unfair prejudice to the

person charged with committing the crime. A

“no” vote will not amend the

Missouri Constitution regarding the use of evidence of prior criminal acts to

prosecute sexual crimes.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

2

Constitutional Amendment 3

[Proposed by Initiative Petition]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation

system for which each local school district must receive state approval to

continue receiving state and local funding;

require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid

primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the

evaluation system;

require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public

school districts; and

prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the

design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?

Decisions by school districts regarding provisions allowed or required by this

proposal and their implementation will influence the potential costs or savings

impacting each district. Significant potential costs may be incurred by the state

and/or the districts if new/additional evaluation instruments must be developed to

satisfy the proposal’s performance evaluation requirements.

Fair Ballot Language:

A

“yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to require teachers to be

evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system. Each system

must receive state approval in order for the local school district to continue

receiving state and local funding. Teachers will be dismissed, retained, demoted,

promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part

of the evaluation system. The amendment further requires teachers to enter into

contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts, with exceptions. The

amendment also prohibits teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining

regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system.

A

“no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding teacher contracts

and performance evaluation systems.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

3

Constitutional Amendment 6

[Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (Second Regular Session)

SS SCS HCS HJR 90]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail

for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the

election day in general elections, but only if the legislature and the governor

appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting?

State governmental entities estimated startup costs of about $2 million and costs

to reimburse local election authorities of at least $100,000 per election. Local

election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election. Those

costs will depend on the compensation, staffing, and, planning decisions of

election authorities with the total costs being unknown.

Fair Ballot Language:

A

“yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to permit voters, in years when

the legislature provides funding, an early voting period of six business days prior

to and including the Wednesday before election day to cast a ballot in all general

elections. This amendment does not allow early voting on Saturday or Sunday.

A

“no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution to provide all voters with a

six-business day early voting period.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

6

Constitutional Amendment 10

[Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (Second Regular

Session) HJR 72]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to require the governor to pay the

public debt, to prohibit the governor from relying on revenue from legislation not

yet passed when proposing a budget, and to provide a legislative check on the

governor’s decisions to restrict funding for education and other state services?

State governmental entities expect no direct costs or savings. Local

governmental entities expect an unknown fiscal impact.

Fair Ballot Language:

A

“yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements

placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money

appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature. This amendment prohibits

the governor from reducing funding passed by the general assembly without

receiving legislative consent, and provides certain other restrictions on the

governor’s ability to increase or decrease line items in the budget. This

amendment further prohibits the governor from proposing a budget that relies on

revenue from legislation that has not yet passed in the general assembly.

A

“no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements

placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money

appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

[

Filing for Missouri 2014 Elections

Filing for ElectionsFiling for the Aug 2014 Primary and the Nov 2014 General begins on Feb 25 and closes on March 25, 2014. Help us find candidates who want to run.

There will be candidate support with training and networking, from both the Missouri State Democratic Party as well as from the St. Charles County Democrats.

There are legislative districts throughout Missouri where we won a majority of the U.S. Senate votes in 2012 – but a Republican holds the General Assembly seat. We can change that.

Within each of these districts is a Todd Akin wannabe who learned exactly the wrong lesson from last year’s election. In 2013, the Republicans chose not to help Missouri families. Instead, they focused on Sharia law, gun safety nullification, and a tax scheme to benefit only the favored few. That makes them ripe for defeat.

But to win, we need your support and participation.

This is an important year for citizens in St. Charles County as well as for all Missourians. Important issues are already shaping up from the 2014 legislative agenda. These include Medicaid Expansion (or it’s lack of a priority), Right to Work, Education – including the school transfer issue and fully funding education, and another round of tax cuts for the wealthy.

Every state representative is up for re-election, along with our Senate District 2 in the western half of St. Charles County. Scott Rupp is termed out and the Republican’s look like they will have a pretty vicious primary.

Every congressman(woman) is up and we do not have a US Senate race.

The only statewide office for auditor.

If you are interested, or know someone who is interested, in learning more about becoming a Democratic candidate for one of the races in St. Charles County, please contact us at (636) 946-1066 or email us at info@stcdems.org

Robert Reich on Income Inequality

Bill Moyers talks with Economic analyst Robert Reich about the new film Inequality for All. Opening in theaters across the country next week, the film aims to be a game-changer in our national discussion of income inequality

Inequality For All Official Trailer 1 (2013) – Robert Reich Documentary

Beyond the Rhetoric: An Explanation of Francis Howell’s Situation

In order to develop an informed opinion on the impending transfer of Normandy students to Francis Howell, one needs to look at the full set of facts.

For decades, students of unaccredited districts have been allowed to transfer to any school in their county or adjoining county. Before 1993, though, the law also said: “but no school or school district shall be required to admit any pupil.” In the massive rewrite of education law in 1993, those words were left out. Twice in the past three years, the Missouri Supreme Court has ruled state law does not allow an accredited school district such as Francis Howell to block the transfer of a student from an adjoining unaccredited district such as Normandy.

In 2011, Rep. Margo McNeil (D-Hazelwood) sponsored a bill, House Bill 514, to reintroduce the original wording back into state law. Even though Republican Rep. Rick Stream, a former member of the Kirkwood school board, joined McNeil’s efforts as a co-sponsor, the bill never received a hearing in the Republican-led legislature. Despite repetitive warnings from many sources over the following two years, St. Charles County Republican legislators stood by and let the courts decide our fate. Why? Republican leadership has an agenda shaped by billionaire Rex Sinquefield who has donated more money to political candidates than any other Missourian in history. Since moving students to other districts bolsters Sinquefield’s demand for vouchers for private schools, Republicans have embraced the court decision. (Sinquefield is a former member of the St. Louis Archdiocese’s finance committee.)

Now, St. Charles County Republicans like Rep. Mark Parkinson are attempting to rewrite history by acting surprised their own legislative inaction followed its natural course to a predictable – and problematic – conclusion: transfers being bused to Francis Howell. This is especially infuriating when five of them are on the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and have sat idly by for years.

The Democratic Central Committee of St. Charles County is opposed to busing students from any district without the approval of the elected board of the receiving district. We believe the Missouri Supreme Court erred in overturning a decades old tradition of the right of refusal of transfer students, and we will support any action taken by Francis Howell to correct this intrusion into the authority of individual school districts.

However the legal action turns out, we recognize all children matter. Our objections are not born of intolerance or prejudice, simply a commitment to local control of schools and a deeply held belief that temporary half-solutions are not the educational fix struggling communities need. We will not join the chorus of anger from a vocal minority or say derisive words, as one of our legislators has. In the end, we will embrace whatever the ultimate decision is and help make it succeed for the sake of all God’s children.

St. Charles, Mo. – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 17, 2013 Press Release from Chairman Morton Todd

General Assembly Republicans Put Rigid Ideology ahead of Fiscal Responsibility, Economic Growth and Missourians’Health Care

 

St. Charles, Mo. – As the General Assembly’s 2013 regular legislative session concluded Friday evening, the St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee voiced disappointment in the radically partisan priorities of the county’s Republican legislators.

 

“In 18 weeks in Jefferson City, Republican supermajorities defined their idea of thoughtful legislation by approving bills that were fiscally irresponsible, blatantly unconstitutional and totally inexplicable,” said Committee Chair Morton Todd. “The only people who came out ahead were the Republicans’ biggest donors.”

 

Moreover, Republicans repeatedly refused to consider the state’s best and easiest way to grow the economy: expanding Medicaid in order to return Missouri tax dollars to Missouri, generate $9.6 billion in new economic activity and provide health coverage to 300,000 additional Missourians.

 

“Despite more than 60 state and local business groups, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and the St. Charles County Economic Development Center, endorsing Gov. Nixon’s plan to strengthen Medicaid, the Republican supermajorities put politics first and repeatedly blocked this middle-of-the-road measure,” said Todd. “But what’s worse is that Republicans’ inaction directly leads to lower quality health care by removing $4 billion from hospitals’ bottom lines.”

 

The St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee represents the Missouri Democratic Party in St. Charles County and performs functions as required by the laws of the State of Missouri, the Charter and By-Laws of the Democratic Party of the United States, and the Constitution and By-Laws of the Missouri Democratic Party.

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Gigantic Win for our Candidates–Obama, McCaskill, Nixon, Koster, Zweifel, and Kander!

More people voted for Obama than did for Bush 8 years earlier.  What a victory.  He did not need MO for the win, but thankfully due to your hard work our president will have Claire McCaskill’s help in the Senate.

Did you see the numbers?  Across the state our Dem numbers looked good, but the most fantastic results from Nov 6 were the number of votes we were able to pull out of St Charles County.

With 89,993 votes Claire McCaskill pulled more votes out of St. Charles County than the combined total of the 30 smallest counties in MO.  And once those voters were in the Dem column for Claire they stayed on that side to vote Nixon and Koster who also won in St. Charles County.  We can be proud of the tremendous GOTV operation we had here and the hundred’s of volunteers who brought out those Dems who stayed home in 2010.

St. Charles County Election Results

Bill Otto won his race for the Missouri 70th House District that covers part of St. Charles County.  We had a great slate of Democratic Candidates that we can all be proud of!

New Democratic Central Committee Women and Men

The St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee has several new Committee Women and Men for the 2012 – 2014 term.  We are pleased to announce that the following Committee Women and Men have been added in 2012:

  • Cheryl Primm – Committee Woman for the 1st Capitol Township (02)
  • Ken Tucker – Committee Man for the Muegge Township (04)
  • Bev Cowling – Committee Woman for the St. Peters Township (05)
  • Cesar Castaneda – Committee Man for the Spencer Creek Township (08)
  • Shelley Hoffman – Committee Woman for the Dardenne Township (09)
  • Rod Hoffman – Committee Man for the Dardenne Township (09)
  • Russ Craven – Committee Man for the Cottleville Township (10)
  • Tim Ryan – Committee Man for the Wentzville Township (12)
  • Brenda Schaper – Committee Woman for the Wentzville Township (12)
  • Fred Banks – Committee Man for the Boone Township (14)

As a result of redistricting from the 2010 census, some of the Township names changed.  All of the Township district lines were redrawn.  To see the Township lines, visit http://map.sccmo.org/Main/ and select the voting layer for political townships.

Here is the complete list of St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee

Motivating Generation Y

Motivating Generation Y

Political apathy has always been a problem among young voters, and maybe it’s just because I’m a young voter myself, but it seems like more of a problem today than it has ever been in the past.

Admittedly, youth voting has been on the rise in the last couple elections. In 2008, the percentage of young people voting (ages 18-24 in this case) rose to 51%, the highest turn-out since 1992. However, that is still a far cry from the above 25 voter turn-out, which was 67% in 2008.

You might be wondering why, if young voting is on the rise and young voters are stereotypically apathetic to the politics of the world around them, this is a problem. Two main reasons: 1) Voting is habit-forming 2) Voting does not necessarily reflect civic engagement

The earlier a citizen learns about voting and the voting process the more likely they will be to vote. Somewhat like learning a new language, the earlier it is introduced to you, the more likely you are to learn it well and make it a part of you.

Despite the emphasis I made on the importance of voting. Voter turn-out does not necessarily reflect civic engagement. Our teachers are always saying, “VOTE!” but if you don’t know what the issues are or anything about the candidates I don’t recommend it. An informed citizenry is the best citizenry.

The first step in solving a problem is to understand it. There are several reasons young people do not vote, some are the same reasons as their older non-voting counterparts, but some are unique as well. These young non-voters do not believe their vote will make a difference, they believe all politics is corrupt, and they believe politics is elitist and does not affect them. Of course, there are countless other contentions, but these will be these are the primary ones.

So, how can we get young people involved in the democratic process? Simply talking to young people with an open mind is the best approach. Hear their complaints and do not try to tell them what to think, but allow them to draw their own conclusions. Don’t forget to let them know that they can make a difference and their vote does count. The rest of us know it’s true, but they don’t seem to. Finally, don’t give up on them. Sometimes all they need is a little nudge in the right direction.

 

 

“Is the System Broken?” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 03 Oct. 2012. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/july-dec00/brokensystem.html>.

“Youth Voting.” CIRCLE. The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2010. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. <http://www.civicyouth.org/>.

15 Tips for Motivating Gen Y in the Workplace.” Anna Ivey Consulting. Savvy Grad LLC, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. <http://www.annaivey.com/workplace_advice/15_tips_for_motivating_gen_y_in_the_workplace>.

Rape is Not About Semantics

By now you’ve heard of Todd Akin, Missouri Senate candidate who stumbled into a hornet’s nest with his on-air comments about the odds of rape resulting in pregnancy. I was one of those outraged by what he said, so much so that when I happened upon a video of the interview in which he said it, I stood up from my desk and exclaimed at my PC screen, “No WAY.” I watched again, listening carefully, becoming more incredulous with each passing second.

My initial reaction was to want to hit the thick-headed son-of-a-bitch over the head with a two-by-four, but then of course I realized how unproductive that would be (especially in keeping myself out of Federal prison). So I’m writing this blog instead.

First of all, my outrage has nothing to do with Todd Akin’s views on abortion (he is against it, in case you haven’t heard, and has drafted legislation to make it illegal in all cases). Whether or not abortion is murder, and therefore should not be legal under any circumstance, is an issue that has troubled the best minds (and hearts, too) in the country for many decades, with no definitive resolution, no matter what laws are in effect at any given time. I have concluded that it is a matter to be decided by the personal conscience of the uterus-owning person to which an unwanted pregnancy happens.

My outrage has everything to do with the fact that Todd Akin has been working on legislation that governs half the people in this state, but without the merest glimmer of a clue about what it means to be one of those people, and what their particular vulnerabilities in society might be. In the video of his interview with Charles Jaco, he actually makes a dismissive gesture, as if to wave away all women who were ever raped and left pregnant thereby, as if they never existed, and indeed would never exist in his mind, since he was laboring under the delusion that rape could not cause pregnancy.

My outrage has to do with the absurdity of his holding a position of legislative responsibility for years but never bothering to walk even half a mile in the shoes of those whom those laws might effect. In short, his words in the Jaco interview proved to me that he was dealing with the problem of rape by choosing to believe that it simply doesn’t exist. Presumably, it’s something made up by sluts who want attention or want to harm innocent men by their accusations… or who, heaven forfend, actually WANTED to have sex, which in itself, in his eyes, is apparently somehow damning. Also, he seems to believe that every instance of “legitimate” rape consists of a great show of physical violence with lots of spectacular bruises to exhibit to a DA. Sadly, nearly every woman knows all too well that all that’s required is for someone bigger and stronger (or with sufficient drugs or alcohol) to get physical control of her body for a few minutes without her consent or compliance. And anyone who’s ever so much as channel-surfed past any pop-psych show such as Oprah or Dr. Phil is surely aware that vast numbers of children are raped, “forcibly” or otherwise, every year in this country alone, and that they frequently they have babies as a result.

Todd Akin is woefully, willfully ignorant of the issue he is trying to legislate about, and that I can neither countenance nor forgive, especially when his subsequent “apologies” deeply underscore his continued cluelessness as to WHY people (and not just women) are outraged.

It’s not that we deny him the right to his pro-life stance or that we do not respect it; it’s that he has concluded that it is the only correct stance without doing even a modicum of his homework. And it’s not that he “used the wrong words” in the now-famous interview. This is SO not about semantics. It’s not even so much about ignorance of human biology, although that in and of itself is troubling.

It’s about complete ignorance of the problem.

Has Todd Akin ever sat by the bedside of a 12-year-old laboring to deliver her own father’s baby? Probably not. Is he aware that a third of all women in the U.S. have had or will have an abortion during their reproductive lifetimes? Doubt it. Did he ever even do a quick Google, as interns at news stations all over the country did the day the Jaco interview aired, just to fact-check how many pregnancies (reported ones!) result from rape per year? (That would be over 32,000, by the way. Seems a lot of them to be dismissed by the wave of a liver-spotted hand.) I was told recently by a psychologist with a PhD who practices family counseling that one in three women will be sexually abused in her lifetime, but that that figure may be low because sexual abuse is a vastly underreported crime. I wonder if Akin knows that statistic, or even dimly grasps what it means? And if he doesn’t, how can he possibly hope to represent women in Congress?

And before you conclude that I’m just another angry, man-hating, feminist cow, I would like to state that I do not object to men. I love, admire, cherish, and respect lots of them. I had a father who was male, have a brother who is male, a husband who is male, and a beloved son who is male. Some of my best friends are male. Nor do I particularly object to old, white, Christian males, so long as they make an effort to understand people and things outside their own narrow range of experience, just as I strive to understand men and their issues, some of which will always be far outside the range of my own personal experience.

If Todd Akin chooses to take a sabbatical from politics to educate himself about the realities of a woman’s life — perhaps by volunteering at a shelter for battered women, by talking with and getting to know former rape victims, by interviewing counselors who treat such victims, by reading a biology textbook, by any means he can think of to educate himself so that he can represent in Congress my issues as a woman — then I would accept happily accept any apology he chooses to make.

But until then, please, Missouri; do not elect another old, white, Christian male who does not begin to understand the people whose lives he wants to govern with ill-considered legislation.

–Margie Summers, St. Charles County
(read original blog post of this article here: msum865048.blogspot.com)